Compared to a four-month period running from January to April last year, civilian deaths in Afghanistan are down 20 percent, according to the United Nations’ special envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis. After rising for five straight years, the drop in deaths will be welcome news for the U.S.-led coalition there and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, who are frequently at odds over civilian deaths. More than 3,000 civilians died in 2011, and May of that year was the deadliest month on record. Kubis speculated that the drop in deaths could be because of Western measures to limit them, but rights groups say the harsh winter may have played a part by stymying fighting.
U.N.: Afghan Civilian Deaths Down 20 Percent So Far In 2012